Friday, April 30, 2010

Pushing Our Luck

Tate and Ellie have slept through the night since 8 weeks. They usually sleep from about 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM. I know I am blessed beyond measure and I know that would make a lot of people want to take a hammer to their baby monitors. Tate wakes up a few times at some point between 3 AM and 6 AM with gas pains and most of the time doesn’t even open his eyes, just going all washboard and screaming for a minute then going back to sleep. (Not complaining, I know some people would kill for this kind of sleep with two month old twins.) Ellie sleeps like a rock anytime, anywhere, anyplace.

I have been doing a lot of research on routines because my obsession topic of the month is daytime playtime vs. naptime plus working in some me time (which means cooking dinner, doing laundry, cleaning etc.) and some Trey time. I remembered I’d bought a book called “The Baby Whisperer” that had some timetables in it for different age groups. I had applied some of the principals from the time I brought the babies home such as creating a bed time routine including swaddling, having some activity after all the daytime feeds so they separated day and night and didn’t associate eating with going to sleep and some others. I picked it up and started re-reading today focusing on the sections that talked about babies older than 6 weeks.

There were a couple of things that stood out. The first is that I already have them on a pretty good schedule; I just need to be a little more consistent with setting the stage for their naps. The second was to keep all of their naps under 2 hours. Today they didn’t ever sleep longer than two hours so I got really excited about the third. For their nighttime feed the routine is: feed, bath, swaddle, bed and instead of doing what we had been doing which I was calling a night time feed where I kept them up (they would sleep most of it anyway) in their bouncy seats downstairs while I would cook dinner or whatever, do a dream feed at 10 or 11 PM. A dream feed was described as keeping the babies swaddled and the lights low. Picking them up, feeding them, no talking and putting them straight back down unless they are dirty. We are trying it tonight and it is so nice to be sitting downstairs with sleeping babies upstairs. I am a bit worried about how the middle of the night to the morning will go considering we all sleep in the same room so if they wake up bored we will probably wake up also but sleeping 12 hours with just a dream feed at 11 sounds pretty good!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tate and Ellie are U.S. Citizens!!

So, we went for Tate and Ellie's citizenship several months ago. It was a HORRID trip that resulted in Trey's passport being confiscated due to an error found when it was being used to verify Tate and Ellie’s eligibility for citizenship. They told him to pay $100.00 for a new passport then and there or we couldn’t get Tate and Ellie’s passports. The error was not ours and if you know me you know I am not the type to pay money for someone else’s mistake so I said we were leaving and demanded they investigate the error after I clearly outlined how the mistake could not possibly have been ours. (I never should have worked at a law firm, it just fueled a fire.)

We walked in hoping to obtain two passports and we walked with one less. We could not get any information on the dispute, my self-righteous indignation over the injustice had cooled and the pressing need for passports finally urged me to suck it up and pay the $100.00. We got all packed up and headed back to the Embassy. We went through security where I got to taste the baby bottles, pulled our ticket (P 80, last time we were P74…. that’s how long we were there, I could remember the ticket number from when the babies were 5 weeks old, they are now 12) and sat in an international version of the DMV.

We sat in the waiting room and fed the babies while I coached Trey on what to say. “Don’t tell them we’re here to pay for your confiscated passport. Tell them we want to know where we are in the dispute process…” I fully expected to leave there $100.00 poorer and I figured they would probably find some other extraneous charges for us. I was thrilled beyond belief when Trey came back from the window and said that when he asked where we were in the dispute they said they hadn’t been able to get a response from the post office of Birmingham, Alabama. Honestly I probably could have made $100.00 if I could have recorded the phone conversation. “Hello, this is so and so from the US Embassy in London calling to enquire if you made a mistake when transferring the details of a passport application?” Anyone who has ever been to the downtown post office in Birmingham, Alabama knows what I am talking about. I mean, come on, they put that Trey was born in a city that doesn’t exist. Anyway, they decided not to charge us and told us we would receive all three passports in three weeks, no additional charge. Thank the Lord!

After that we had to take the bus home from Oxford Street so we stopped by Primark because we have NOTHING for 6 to 9 months for either of the babies. I got a couple of outfits to get them started.

Tate and Ellie - 12 Weeks

The famous Tate and Ellie holding hands.  I promise, I never pose pictures.

Ellie, very focused on tummy time. 

Tate, who hates tummy time, comforting himself post-trauma with his ladybug.

This is Ellie in her first 6 to 9 month outfit.

Tate, Ellie and I after our big day out to the V&A and book shopping.  Sadly, this is how I look most days.

BIG Weekend!

We had a HUGE weekend.  Friday I met a friend for a little much needed time out at the grounds of our church.  It was such a beautiful day and Tate and Ellie slept most of the time.  I had planned to head over to the Victoria and Albert museum after we had a chat and glance around as long as the babies would let me.  My friend told me she was meeting a friend for lunch in a courtyard there and I went along.  It was a wonderful discovery and a place I will probably visit often.  There is a fountain and areas of both shade and sunshine.  The fountain area has a shallow pool of water where kids can play and, honestly, I am already dreaming about when it is warm enough to put my feet in.  I am furious because I didn't bring my camera!  Anyway, that day Tate and Elle were dressed in clothes from both of Grandmothers and I did get pictures before we left the house.  Tate's outfit is from Gigi and Ellie is wearing a sweater from Grandma and lying on a quilt she made for them.

(Pardon Ellie's "You got a problem with that?" face.)

We call this look "Little T."

Saturday Trey and I headed to Nando’s for lunch and then back to the V&A because I hadn’t gotten to look around much and he hadn't been either. We made it through some of the medieval religious art, Asia and the Enlightenment sculptures before heading out to the courtyard to feed the babies. Going to the museum with them worked out pretty well although admittedly I held one or the other most of the time while I pushed the stroller one handed. (It isn’t that Trey wouldn’t push the stroller, I just have this thing about doing whatever I can on my own when we're out together trying something new to get a realistic picture of if I would actually want to try it on my own.)  We then put on quite the show by going out to the fountain area to feed the babies and have a snack.  After that we walked to Harrods stopping at a couple of bookstores looking for a book we never found then we took the bus back home.  We were out for 6 hours.

Sunday we attended services then headed to a barbeque which meant we were out for 8 hours. It was really nice to see friends and meet some new people but we had a nightmarish time on London Public Transport. We had figured out a bus route home because the pram is getting heavier and heavier. Due to the London marathon, our bus stopped unexpectedly at a stop that wasn’t on our route. From that point we had to take one more bus and two lines on the tube to get home. Ultimately, by the time we got home we could have taken a cab for less. Days like this I really, really, really miss my car. To my Houston people, I would trade everyday in traffic to never have to deal with the complications of public transportation and that is speaking from experience.

Here are Tate and Ellie with their friends at the barbeque. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weigh Day

We haven't weighed the babies since March 15th.  We thought it would be done at their 8 week checkup but it wasn't.  Our health visitor has a baby clinic on Mondays from 1:30 to 3:30 PM where you can take the babies in, weigh them and ask a nurse questions.  The Monday after their 8 week appointment was Easter Monday so it was closed.  Tate and Ellie were born at 5 and 6 pounds respectively.

In her first month of life Ellie went from the 9th to the 25th percentile and now she has gone to the 50th percentile in her third month currently weighing 12 pounds 3 ounces.  This means she has doubled her weight in a little less than three months.  This is about a month faster than normal but it is normal for twins.

In his first month, Tate went fromt eh 3rd to the 9th and is now in the 20th percentile at 10 pounds 14 ounces.  He has just now gotten too small for newborn clothes even though I started putting him in 0 to 3 almost a month ago because I was really tired of neutral sleepers.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A LOT of Formula

Well, as of today Tate has officially caught up with Ellie and is taking 6 ounces.  (They don't always eat a whole 6 oz but about once a day, however, you have to make that much to get what they're eating.)  This means that we are officially going through a box of formula every 3 days!  That's right;  we have to buy three boxes of formula to make it through a complete week. 

Here are Tate and Ellie today on their 10th week of life!  For those who look closely, Tate scratched his own face.  I can't keep his nails short enough, when he is upset he likes to ball his fists up and rub them all over his face.  He is determined to always have a cut.

These are of them sleeping a couple of days ago.  Sorry all the pictures are of them in their bouncy seats, it is just about the only time I have my hands free for pictures.



...because what is sweeter than sleeping babies?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What's In A Name: Elijah Tate

Trey and I had a harder time choosing a boy’s name. I knew I wanted to use my maiden name, Tate, but it sounded weird to both of us because we were so used to it being my family name. Especially after I lost my Dad I felt particularly strong about using it and eventually it felt right. Originally we had thought Tate Austin would be our son’s name because we liked the sound of it. Austin carried some family and geographical significance and we were pretty satisfied. I was about 9 weeks pregnant when we moved from Birmingham to Texas to spend a month with family before moving to London. We had been in Birmingham three years and while we were there attended Shades Mountain Baptist Church. We absolutely adored this church and it really became home to us. Our last Sunday there, the pastor preached a sermon on Elijah. The message was “Following God’s Will When It Doesn’t Make Sense.” It really resonated with us because we were giving up jobs, selling our cars and furniture all in pursuit of what we believe to be the path God has laid out for us.

The message was from I Kings 17. In it, the Lord had provided for Elijah during a famine directing him first to a brook where he could drink and was fed by ravens then to a widow who seemingly only had enough to enjoy one last meal with her son before dying. The Lord, in His faithfulness, multiplied their supply and they were all able to eat. We felt we were going into the unknown but following God’s promise that He would provide where He led us. I felt impressed during that sermon that we should name our son Elijah so that he would serve as a reminder that we are to follow the Lord’s calling on our lives and the Lord will be faithful to provide. Surprisingly, it was difficult for me to do this because Elijah is not a name I naturally was drawn to but the Lord has already been faithful to use it as a comfort in my life. I pray it will be a source of comfort and encouragement for Tate.

13 Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.' "
15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.
I Kings 17: 13-16

What’s In A Name: Eliana Grace

The story of Ellie’s name dates back to mine and Trey’s first year of marriage. We were playing Scattergories at the home of our dear friends Jason and Kellie. The letter was “E” and one of the categories was “girl’s names.” (For those of you unfamiliar with the game, players attempt to match categories with a letter of the alphabet unique from those their opponents come up with.) When we were calling out our answers Trey said the most beautiful name I have ever heard, Eliana (pronounced el-ee-AH-nah.) I pronounced then and there that this would be our daughter’s name. I went home and looked up the meaning of Eliana and was thrilled to find it was Hebrew in origin and means “God has answered.” We began talking about a middle name and Grace seemed so natural because it is through His grace the Lord answers when we call on Him.

"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

Monday, April 5, 2010


So I have to say, other than having the sweetest babies (and thanks to their fashionable grandparents some of the best dressed) on the planet, we had a bit of a disappointing Easter. We got up early, got everyone ready and out the door with even time for pictures and made it in time to catch the bus. The bus, however, was being diverted around our stop and after paying full fare to go less than a stop we were informed we would have to walk the mile to church. Not usually such a big deal but because we weren’t going to walk very far I had decided to start breaking my feet back into my spring shoes. They were not prepared to walk a mile and I ended up with 5 bleeding blisters. The service was very well done, however, we didn’t realize that the service we were attending was one of the family services and we were both really looking forward to a good Easter sermon. There was a skit instead and I would have loved it if the babies were old enough to enjoy it. We did get to talk to most of Trey’s family at the same time on Skype which is always a pleasure and lifts our spirits. Ultimately, I think we are just getting homesick. Neither of us had ever gone 8 months without going home, frankly I don’t think I had gone more than 4 or 5 without being in Houston and we would see family that visited us in the meantime. We know we have at least another 4 months to go but I think on daily basis we say our top things we want to do when we get home.

Mine are:
1. Have all our family in the same room (minus Bill, Beth and Alex who we would have to settle for Skype with.)
2. Go to one of our Southern Baptist Churches with Sunday School and everything.
3. Be reunited with my dog, Anna.
4. Drive a car.
5. Eat some queso and kolatches.
6. Swim in my Mom’s back yard.
7. Live only with people I am related to.
8. Use my very own kitchen appliances and china… oh how I miss my kitchen aid.
9. Live in a house with a toilet I don’t have to pump and sinks that mixes the hot and cold water for me.
10. Pay for everything in dollars.